November 22, 2006

A hope for children with cancer in Baja California

San Diegans can do a lot for Fundación Castro-Limón.

By Pablo Jaime Sainz

María Paloma Mejía, 11 months of age: leukemia.

Juventino Merced Álvarez , 10 years of age: brain tumor.

América Villarreal, 16 years of age: ovarian tumor.

These three children have in common facing the terrible disease that is cancer. They all come from low-income families, too. None of them had medical insurance.

But the three of them also share the hope that gives Fundación Castro-Limón, a non-profit in Tijuana that offers free integral support for children with cancer in Baja California.

A few weeks ago, the foundation began its annual fundraiser campaign called “Para continuar mi vida deposita una moneda” (“To continue my life please deposit a coin”) that tries to contribute to the treatment of the children that are currently receiving cancer treatment.

And during the three years since it was founded, Fundación Castro-Limón has survived thanks to donations from businesses and individuals in order to give integral treatment to some 50 children with cancer from all over the state, said Delia Avila, the organization’s institutional relations coordinator.

“Our mission is to give a hope of life to children with cancer,” she said.

Children admitted to the program for their treatment must be from disadvantage backgrounds, must not have received treatment before, and must not have health insurance, she said.

“Integral treatment includes everything: From analyses and tests to companionship and social work,” Avila said. “We try to increase the quality of life for these children.”

Last July Fundación Castro-Limón completed the Centro Oncológico de Baja California, a complete medical facility that had a cost of about $2 million dollars. The center became a reality thanks to fundraiser campaigns and donations from private companies.

Avila said that leukemia is the most common type of cancer among children in Baja California.

The children arrive at the foundation through referrals from government health agencies as well as from non-profits.

The “Para continuar mi vida deposita una moneda” campaign consists in donations from customers from participating businesses such as Carl’s Jr. and Dorian’s.

Fundación Castro-Limón also has a program called “Adopta una esperanza de vida” (“Adopt a Hope of Life”) where you can help pay for a child’s treatment with a monthly contribution of $50 or $100 dollars. You become a “padrino” or “madri-na” for the kid you support and you receive information about the recovery of the child.

The organization has a group of volunteers and donors in San Diego County that often visit the Centro Oncológico.

Julia Limón, coordinator of the San Diego Volunteer Committee, said that San Diegans can do a lot to help children with cancer in Baja California.

“Just by visiting them in the hospital makes their day,” she said.

But what’s needed the most are the donations from people in San Diego, said Avila.

The group of volunteers in San Diego has about 20 members.

Fundación Castro-Limón was born as the dream of Juan Carlos Castro and Irineo Limón, two young businessmen who died of cancer. Before they died, these young men had the idea of helping children who were in their situation.

In three years, Fundación Castro-Limón has become the hope for 50 children.

You can contribute to this noble cause, too.

Information: 011-52 (664) 969-5914 or www.fundacioncastrolimon.org.

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